A Benalla man is thankful to Wintringham Homes for providing him with a roof over his head.
The name Wintringham Homes probably doesn’t mean a lot to most — but to local man Stephen Russell it is the difference between a roof over his head and life on the streets.
Mr Russell once had it all — a wife, family, a job and his health — but in a split second it was snatched from him, leaving him with little choice but to live in alleyways and under bridges for almost two decades.
Wintringham Homes was last week officially opened by Housing Minister Wendy Lovell, and Mr Russell shared his story about how vital the service has become.
‘‘I went from an existence to living a life,’’ he said of his improved circumstances.
While those who toured Mr Russell’s unit were moved by his emotional story, he says now he is getting his life back together.
‘‘I have started physio again, before that I gave up ’cause there was no point — but now I am giving it a real go,’’ Mr Russell said.
For Mr Russell the saddest part about living on the streets was not having a home for his three children and grandchildren to come home to.
‘‘I have one grandchild and another on the way, so I now have a home that they can come and visit me in — and they do as often as possible,’’ he said.
The 18 new Alexander Miller Estate Trust Homes in Benalla and Euroa came as a result of a joint partnership between the Department of Human Services and Wintringham Housing.
Minister Lovell said the homes, some of which are new and others redeveloped, are being made available to older residents and those who are disadvantaged in our community.
‘‘It’s important our older citizens who may be frail and have special requirements, have living arrangements to support them,’’ she said.
Upon hearing Mr Russell’s story, councillor Barb Alexander said it was ‘‘simply inspirational’’.
Member for Benalla Bill Sykes reinforced Cr Alexander’s claims and said if he had to swap rural living for town living, these homes would work a treat.
‘‘‘They have a country style, openness .
With a renewed sense of hope, Mr Russell sincerely thanked Minister Lovell for her commitment.
‘‘I am going to carry on and do the best I can,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s nothing I can’t do, I couldn’t be happier.’’
Goulburn Valley Health’s renal patients have seven new hand-sewn quilts to call their own.
The winning form continued for the Mulwala seniors against Deniliquin at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Tatura Hospital and Parkvilla Aged Care Facility, part of Goulburn Valley Health, held its annual June Hospital Collection and Open Day on Sunday with a small crowd in attendance.
Murray and Campaspe shire have decided to withdraw membership from Committee for Echuca-Moama.
Rochester Motorsport Complex will host the third round of the Golden Power Series karting championships on the weekend.
Kyabram’s first tourism booklet is to be launched in late September.
Seymour College P-4 students delight in their new surroundings.
Berrigan and Jerilderie Shires will be in separate state electorates if boundary redistributions announced on Monday come in to effect.
Heathcote Health is finalising its service plan.
Barooga Sports Club chief executive officer Greg Ryan recently celebrated 30 years of service surrounded by friends, family and past and present staff.
Former AFL player Heath Black sent an inspiring message to Deniliquin youths last week.
Goulburn Valley fruit growers may face a battle against pests and diseases this season as growers hit by SPC Ardmona’s fruit cutbacks abandon their orchards or can’t find money to properly maintain them.
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